Pocholo Dela Cruz, a Philippine-born filmmaker based in Singapore
The end of high school is a bittersweet affair. Gone are the days of being a carefree teenager as adulthood looms in the distance. This existential crisis is mined for laughs and reflection in ‘The Prom Bomb’, a Viddsee Juree Singapore 2019 Top 10 finalist.
Directed by 22-year old Pocholo Dela Cruz, a student at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, the fun comedy takes place on prom, undoubtedly of the most highly anticipated events in a student’s life.
Pocholo shares more about his film about the misadventures of four best friends in a punk band as they gear up to take the stage at prom.
Punk Music Is The Backbone Of This Film
Pocholo is an unapologetic lover of Green Day and Weezer. Pop-punk music inspired him to learn the electric guitar and was his outlet during stressful moments in school and college. It is also how he met many of his close friends, including Eric Darmadi (Director of Photography) and Mervyn Lee (Executive Producer).
A still from ‘The Prom Bomb’: (l-r) Raja Shah Irshad (Raj), Dhiraaj Naidu (Aziz), Zachariah Wee (Zack)
Pocholo, Eric and Mervyn, who met in Yio Chu Kang Secondary School, were in a band who played their Graduation Night. Unlike ‘The Prom Bomb’, Pocholo confessed that that experience turned out to be the most embarrassing moment of his life.
The ability to revisit one of his worst experiences in writing the film was cathartic for Pocholo.
“I thought it was kinda poetic that my final year project in poly was centred around my final year in secondary school.”
Dealing With An Overrunning and Overbudget Production
Shooting ‘The Prom Bomb’ was one long-running logistical nightmare. Props were shipped late and major MRT repairs coincided with shoot dates resulting in a total traffic lockdown. At one point, the team’s schedule was so backed up that they had 12 hours to make 60 shots!
“I’ll admit there were many tears shed by both my crew members and me. Lots of screaming. Endless sessions of cutting shots and combining scenes hours before the start of a production day.“
A still from the film. Melissa Garcia was the production designer responsible for the look, sound and most of the songs in ‘The Prom Bomb’
With ambition comes improvisation and the efficient team that includes Jean Salvador (Producer) and Melissa Garcia (Production Designer) managed to pull through and create a film that they’re proud of.
The Satisfaction Of Peer Validation
After the film was released, Pocholo struggled to find avenues where it could be shared and seen. The light-hearted teen-focused drama seemed at odds with what festival curators were looking for, and the film was snubbed at many festivals and competitions.
Nonetheless, Pocholo will never forget the reaction of the audience who saw the film’s premiere.
A still from ‘The Prom Bomb’ featuring Pradika Severinus Prawito (Mike)
“Genuine laughter. Juniors were telling us they were inspired, Alumni telling us that we were able to pull off something they tried to do before but couldn’t. It was magical,” shares Pocholo.